On February 9, 2021, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention sent a strong and clear message to Honduras: Immediately release the eight imprisoned Guapinol defenders.
In its resolution 85/2020, the Working Group stressed that there is no legal reason for the use of pre-trial detention in the case of defenders José Daniel Márquez Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero Martínez, José Abelino Cedillo, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Orbín Nahúm Hernández, Arnold Javier Alemán, Ewer Alexander Cedillo Cruz and Jeremías Martínez Díaz and emphasized that the State is punishing them for being environmental defenders and for exercising their legitimate rights. Furthermore, it noted that there is no reason to prosecute them in the first place. The Working Group emphasized that they should be released and redressed and that those responsible for the illegal detention should be investigated.
The Working Group urged the Honduran State not to wait because every day they do not release them, they are committing another violation. They also stressed that due to the COVID crisis, the release is urgent.
One month later, the Honduran State has not responded. The Municipal Committee, families of the defenders and their legal team have followed up with all the institutions responsible for guaranteeing the release of the defenders and they have done nothing. Now, one of the defenders, who suffers from a pre-existing condition, is COVID positive.
In addition, there are at least 15 more positive cases in the Olanchito detention center but the number may be much higher given the overcrowded conditions and lack of prevention measures. The outbreak means that other defenders are also at risk.
The Honduran state knowingly holds the Guapinol Water Defenders in illegal detention and puts their lives at risk. The state is responsible for their well-being and physical integrity and has an obligation to release the defenders now.
· That the State of Honduras immediately release the 8 defenders as resolved by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions.
· That the Penitentiary Institute immediately take all necessary preventive health measures to safeguard the lives of the defenders and inform the families about their state of health.
· That CONADEH take urgent action to guarantee compliance with the Work Group resolution
Please contact your Ministry of Foreign Affairs and let your elected representatives know the heightened risk the defenders face and urge for their immediate release!
- Mauricio Oliva, President of the Congress of the Republic firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rolando Argueta, President of the Supreme Court of Justice email@example.com
- Lidia Estela Cardona, Solicitor General of the Republic +504 2235-6100
- Oscar Chinchilla, Attorney General of the Republic firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rosa Seaman, Secretary of Human Rights email@example.com
- Danilo Morale, sGeneral Director of the System for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Justice Operators. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- Héctor Leonel Ayala, Secretary of State for the Offices of Justice, Human Rights, Governance and Decentralization. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Blanca Izaguirre, National Commissioner of Human Rights CONADEH email@example.com
Giampaolo Carmelo Rizzo Alvarado, Permanent Misison to the UN in Geneva firstname.lastname@example.org
Roberto Ochoa Madrid, Honduran Ambassador to the UE email@example.com
Luis Cordero Montoya, Honduran Embassy to the OAS firstname.lastname@example.org
Luis Suazo Barahona, Honduran Ambassador in the USA +1 (202) 699-7702
Sofia Lastenia Cerrato Rodriguez, Honduran Embassy in Canada email@example.com